The Knowledge of Him

Recently at Saar Fellowship I gave a message titled ‘Thinking Beyond Christmas’ wherein we looked at what happens now Christmas is over; so, Jesus was born, came, took on flesh, lived and walked among us, and what did this bring for you?

One thing we talked about was that this brought everything, drawing from 2 Peter 1.3-4.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
2 Peter‬ ‭1.3-4

We read that through the Divine power of Jesus, He has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, so, in other words, Jesus has available to you everything you need to live life in the way life was intended to be lived and everything you need to live a godly life. 

We see the really important – yet so often overlooked – part right after this, that this happens and is available to us through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence

Right there should be our priority as we approach a new year, a great opportunity to set goals and targets, to grow in the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence

People try so much and spend so much trying to improve their lives, yet this is pretty clear that Jesus has, in His Divine power, given us everything we need to life a wonderful abundant life, and that we grow in this life by growing in the knowledge of Him

Would you join me in this coming year of 2020 in committing to growing in the knowledge of Him?

Thinking Beyond Christmas

What did Christmas bring for you?

Did you get everything you wanted?

Did you get everything you needed?

We said last week that our greatest need as fallen sinful people is forgiveness, and we were given a Saviour, but, what does that mean, what comes with that?

2 Peter 1.3-4 tells us that it comes with everything. Everything to live the life that God made you to live. The life of love. The life focused on others.

Mark 2.17 tells us that it comes with perspective. Christmas, the incarnation, God piercing the space-time journey that we are on to take on flesh and live among us and die to atone for our sins shows us that really, we are not naturally good, we are not naturally strong, we are dependent, we are broken in spirit, depraved in thinking, by nature bound to choose the poor choice left to ourselves, and that we need Him to be, truly, all that we were made to be.

Luke 2.25-35 tells us that it comes with salvation. To receive salvation, all we have to do is take Jesus as Simeon did; personally, with the proper perspective that He is everything we need.

What did Christmas bring for you?

Everything, perspective, and salvation.

Why Is Christmas A Time Of Great Joy?

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2.10-12

This is what the angels said to the shepherds that wonderful night 2000 years ago. The Good News that Jesus was born means many things to many people;

Liberation. Reconciliation. Restoration. Justification. Salvation.

First though, notice with me what the angels said, 

I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

Good news of great joyfor all the peopleGood news of great joyGreat joy.

The first advent of Christ, His first coming, which we are but three days away from celebrating, was a time of great joy.

The first three-quarters of the Bibles we carry looks forward to this very moment, all the way back to Genesis 3.15 looks forward to this moment, and it was a moment of great joy.

Everything that people had wanted and had struggled towards for hundreds of years was now here. Everything that people had tried and tried to work towards in their own strength was now here, and this meant it was a time of great joy.

For us now, it is still a time of great joy.

The gift of liberation from slavery to sin has been given.

The gift of reconciliation in our relationship to God has been given. 

The gift of restoration to the life we were made to live has been given.

The gift of justification and a right-standing before God has been give. 

The gift of salvation and eternal life has been given.

Christmas is a time of great joy because of what we are celebrating. Christmas is a time of great joy because of what came into the world. Christmas is a time of great joy because of Jesus. 

Thinking About Christmas

There are so many passages in the Word of God that tell us that He is motivated towards us by love, that Jesus came and lived among us out of the motivation of love (Philippians 2.4-8, John 3.16-17 to use two examples).

Charles Ryrie said of love that it is seeking God’s will for the person/people that you love. From this we can say that Jesus came, lived, died, rose, and ascended all out of love for you, and that He was seeking to action God’s will for you by allowing you to be reconciled to God in right relationship through faith in Him. 

Christmas, then, is when we pause and celebrate and commemorate the fact that He did come, that God expressed His love for you in such a powerful and real way as to send His image to live and walk among us…and that started with Christmas, didn’t it.

Because of this what is our duty as believers at Christmas, what should we be mindful of at Christmas?

Speech – what are you talking about at Christmas? Is is the trappings of the season, or is it the reason for the season? Are you talking yourself up, or are you building others up? (1 Corinthians 14.3).

Spending – what are you spending money on and time with at Christmas? Is it worldly and selfish pleasure and gain, or is it on and with Him? (1 John 3.16).

Selves – if someone dropped by your house on Christmas Day, would there be any explicit evidence that this is a household celebrating the coming of Jesus?

We who have heard the Good News and experienced freedom through Christ are responsible to proclaim it to others still enslaved by sin.

Christmas is the perfect time to do that, with our speech, our spending, and our selvesThis is the message of Christmas, isnt it, God’s expression of His love for you. This is the message that we need to share. It is so important that we share it with our speech, our spending, and our selves.

Are we doing all we can to make sure that people get the message?

Humble Beginnings // O Come Let Us Adore

Charles Spurgeon wrote this about the wonderful event that we are preparing to celebrate.

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” 

Isaiah 7.14

Let us to-day go down to Bethlehem, and in company with wondering shepherds and adoring Magi, let us see Him who was born King of the Jews, for we by faith can claim an interest in Him, and can sing, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, our Lord and our God, and yet our brother and friend; let us adore and admire. Let us notice at the very first glance His miraculous conception. It was a thing unheard of before, and unparalleled since, that a virgin should conceive and bear a Son. The first promise ran thus, “The seed of the woman,” not the offspring of the man. Since venturous woman led the way in the sin which brought forth Paradise lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the Regainer of Paradise. Our Saviour, although truly man, was as to His human nature the Holy One of God. Let us reverently bow before the holy Child whose innocence restores to manhood its ancient glory; and let us pray that He may be formed in us, the hope of glory. Fail not to note His humble parentage. His mother has been described simply as “a virgin,” not a princess, or prophetess, nor a matron of large estate. True the blood of kings ran in her veins; nor was her mind a weak and untaught one, for she could sing most sweetly a song of praise; but yet how humble her position, how poor the man to whom she stood affianced, and how miserable the accommodation afforded to the new-born King!

Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendour.

It doesn’t matter where we are from, it doesn’t matter our earthly circumstances, Immanuel will meet us there as He did with Mary, and will work in us the same magnitude of wondrous deeds should you let Him. 

Today then, as Spurgeon wrote, let us go down to Bethlehem in our minds and let us spend time simply seeing and revering the child born to take away our sins, and not only ours but the sins of the entire world.

Let us notice His humble beginnings, and let us notice that from this unassuming starting point the wondrous power of God shone forth from His life.

A Prophetic Christmas

What are you planning to give people this Christmas?

Did you buy them the latest or greatest — ?

Maybe you’re a person that thinks of gift ideas so easily that this time of year is no problem for you.

Maybe you have no idea what you can give people, and so Christmas is a time where you worry about over/under gifting.

How about a word of prophecy?

Perhaps you hear this word and think of the Old Testament guys and gals who predicted (accurately and without fail) future events concerning God’s people and God’s coming Messiah (Micah 4.8, 5.2, Isaiah9.2-7 for example). Let’s be clear: that is not what we are talking about. That ministry is no more.

However, we do read in 1 Corinthians 14.3 that those who speak a word of prophecy speak to someone for their upbuilding, their encouragement, or they consolation.

On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.

In contrast (on the other hand) to the gift of tongues which is personal and private (1 Corinthians 14.2, 5b, 6, 9, 19), prophecy is for others, prophecy is using your words in accordance with God’s Word to build people up, encourage people, and to console people.

So, this Christmas season, many people are so concerned with many things. Be a person who gives a word of prophecy, a word of upbuilding, a word of encouragement, a word of consolation. Second only to the unmatchable gift of God’s expressed love to you in the person of Jesus, I’m not sure there is anything more we can give people than love, upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation. 

Simeon and Salvation

Lets set the scene – so here is young Jesus, baby Jesus, and He is taken to temple (Luke2.22-23). This is before the wise men arrived, and His earthly parents offer the required sacrifice as part of the dedication ceremony for families that could not afford a lamb (v.24)., and in Luke 2.25-35 we read 

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;

 for my eyes have seen your salvation

 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.””

So here is Simeon, waiting for the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Consolation of Israel, and he takes up Jesus in his arms. He blesses God, he loves this baby despite only just having met him, so to speak, because he knows who He is, and what He is bringing…salvation.

Simeon knew that this was salvation for all, notice with me what he said…

…my eyes have seen your salvation

that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

All people, not just Israel, not just Jews, but Gentiles too, salvation is here for everyone through this person.

Though Mary and Joseph had been told that their Son was the Messiah (Matthew 1.21), perhaps they had not properly understood the global scale of what this child would accomplish.

Jesus was then, and is now, and always will be, God’s salvation.

Simeon saw, and Simeon knew. Simon knew that he saw the Lord’s salvationa light for revelation, and the glory of God. I wonder if you have ever seen Jesus like that, as your own personal salvation, as a revelation of who God is, as the glory of God walking and talking in human flesh.

If you have, then this Christmas do everything you can in your own words and ways to manifest that to others, to show others what you believe.

If you haven’t, all it takes is faith; believe Him, believe in Him, put your trust in Him, and the gift you will receive this Christmas will be the best gift ever, the gift you need the most, forgiveness and life eternal.